DOWNERS GROVE – Most of folk musician Vicki Ingle’s original songs are autobiographical, and many fit a similar theme – moving away from bad situations, women finding happiness or freedom in a new place.
Those themes are unfortunately real for many women in a country where 30 percent of female emergency room visits are related to ongoing abuse, according to Family Shelter Services.
The reaction from many women hearing her songs like “Out of This World,” or “Walking Away from the Blues,” is readily apparent during performances, she said.
The fact that “Walking Away from the Blues” was written by Rich Ingle – her current husband, and second half of their folk duo, Comfort Food – can be surprising to people, she said, due to its subject matter.
“It’s very specifically about my experience,” she said.
Comfort Food accompanied singer-songwriters Robinlee Garber and Amy Dixon-Kolar for a fundraising concert Saturday at Caribou Coffee in Downers Grove in support of Family Shelter Services. Together the artists helped raise more than $400 for the organization.
The event is being held in celebration of Women’s History Month, which began March 1.
Family Shelter Services is an organization that offers help, shelter and assistance to families affected by domestic violence.
“We can’t take these services for granted – they need funding to exist,” Vicki Ingle said.
Along with the heavier tunes, the Ingles mix in lighter fare and covers, she said, especially songs written by John Prine and Kate Wolf.
A life-long lover of the blues and the daughter of a country-western musician, Ingle said her original songs are colored by those two genres.
Fellow Saturday night performer Robinlee Garber has also seen the affects of domestic violence during her career as an expressive arts therapist. In addition to visual arts, Garber also uses her musical talents to help those in recovering in hospitals.
Garber said she grew up listening to her parents records – jazz and pop standards by the likes of Frank Sinatra – until her brother started coming home from college with Neil Young and Jethro Tull records.
That early pop and jazz exposure does still work its way into her music, she said.
“I like to write music and tunes that you can hum along to, but there’s also some twists and turns,” she said. “I’ll play the major key but I’ll throw some jazz chords in to make it interesting.
“I love songs that tell stories. I love writing in a way that is not just repeating words over and over, that requires some listening.”
Garber said she plans to play several originals along with some Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin covers, to stick with the “about, by and for women” theme.
“All will be lively and entertaining,” she said. “And if I can get some people to sing along, that would be great.”
About the performers
Rich and Vicki Ingle self-titled CD under the Comfort Food moniker was among WDCB Folk Festival’s top ten picks when it was released in 2010. www.comfortfoodmusic.com
Robinlee Garber recently released her new EP, “This Parting Gift,” with special guests The Giving Tree Band. www.robinleegarber.com
Amy Dixon-Kolar’s new album “Dancing Through the Storm” features Celtic, traditional, blues and folk influences. www.amydixonkolar.com